Temptations that lead to sin are just one of the ways Satan tries to keep Christians from fulfilling their God-given callings.
Another scheme Satan uses in attempts to destroy Christians and render them useless to God is a less obvious but ultimately more devastating tactic — discouragement.
Recently I was disheartened to learn from a trusted friend and long-time public servant on the national political scene that a well-known believer was “checking out” of D.C. and moving to a remote area to raise his family.
He is retreating from the battle for the soul of the nation.
Others have already left and still others intend to quit politics, leaving the battle to others to fight.
I have often reminded Christian senators and representatives that they were elected because God wanted them in office.
God has a job for them to do in Washington, D.C. beyond making policy and passing legislation. That is true whether they enjoy a political majority or during times when they are a minority and must engage in dreadful battles to keep the nation on track—safe, solvent, and well governed.
The Bible has much to say about remaining stalwart in the face of trouble.
The Scriptures tell us to “Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.”
In the same passage (Ephesians 6:10-11), we are informed as to what God equates with being “strong in the Lord.” It is this: “You will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” It follows then, that understanding the various “schemes of the devil” is a consequence of being “strong in the Lord.”
Put another way, if you are not spiritually discerning and don’t understand Satan’s ways, then you are not very “strong in the Lord.”
This Washington public servant asked me how he should respond to his Christian brother who was leaving the fray, asking, “What should I say?”
My answer was, “He needs to be in Bible study and understand his calling to God’s institution of civil government!
“If he understands the argument of the Ephesian epistle it will aid him in his decision making. Does he realize he has been chosen by God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1)?
Does he understand that he is commanded to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling” (Ephesians)?
“Does he understand that he is called to “stand firm” in Ephesians 6?”
“Does he understand that he may have been put in office “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?
“I know of no other way to counsel someone who has unilaterally decided to desert the battle than to point him to this command in Scripture aimed at all believers: STAND FIRM!”
This is what I told him.
I also wrote a Bible study to encourage Christians everywhere who find themselves, understandably, in battle, for trouble is to be expected (“ Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
The Bible study is titled, “How to resist the ‘Schemes of the Devil.’” Click here to read and download the Bible study.
There is no option other than standing firm once you realize you have been bought with a price and are a slave to Christ.
The discouragement that some Christian public servants in Washington, D.C. feel today has been visited upon our nation in the past.
In the winter of 1776, George Washington’s Continental Army was losing battle after battle. As discouraged soldiers began to desert or time out, Washington’s army shrank from a 20,000 militia to less than 5,000 men. Among them was Thomas Paine. During this dark hour, Paine wrote The American Crisis No. 1 which was published December 23, 1776. This is what it said:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
“Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
We know what happened next.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Stand firm is a command of Scripture. The Greek word is “histemi” and means to hold your position in battle at all cost.
Those called by God into His institution of civil government must understand the gravity of what God is saying to them in and through this passage. They need to be obedient to what His Word clearly says.